Dear Lucile:

This is going to be a perfectly lovely letter!

Our plane (called "the milk train") stopped here and there, and finally reached Denver at 5:30 P. M. Hiddy and the three kids were at the gate jumping up and down, and I got thoroughly hugged — probably because they were all so relieved after the first flight failed to land me. They had been waiting since Monday evening at the airport.

We had something to eat — maybe a cracker with some mustard on it! — and started north for Windsor, where we arrived in the dark. No place to stay, so we went to Greely for the night. Next morning we went back to Windsor & old Joanie answered the phone when I called. We had a fine visit with her & old Mr. and Mrs. [Kindsfather?], and Janet, who, being over two, is very big & knows practically all the English language. I tried to kiss her, being her Gaki, and she told me to sit down on the other side of the room, moving me towards a chair! I sat down & realized I'd have to turn on all my charm so I did; and even so, it was nip and tuck for a while. Ultimately she started bringing me magazines to read. I found I found pretty little girls in the ads, and asked her to observe that they all let Gaki kiss them! Then she began kissing the little girls along with me, and finally she put her mouth up to me and gave me a real smacker! She's a precious, & very pretty. Joanie is a raving beauty, a real knockout! My! My! She always was beautiful, but now it's such a rich, full-bloom, gracious beauty. We ate lunch with the K's, and then took out for Estes Park, 34 miles west. There I learned that Mrs. Enos A. Mills is still living near the old Long's Peak Inn, now called Swiss Village. You know, Mills was the father of the Rocky Mountain National Park. He was a great fan of mine, & first wrote me when Hugh Glass appeared. We were friends by nature When he died his wife wrote me a sweet letter. (That was 25 or 30 years ago — maybe more. Well, I went to see Mrs. Mills, and she was really overjoyed. So was I. She is a dear old lady with what you called "the carnation look" our Nanny had. She runs a little bookstore just for busywork. (She must be wealthy, having s having sold a very valuable property.)

From Long's Peak Inn we went on south in the mountains — to the famous old Central City, on to Cripple Creek, Colorado Springs. Then we struck out for Beecher's Island.

I feel fairly sure that you did not see the island: It's still there, very easy to see if you go to it (about 150 yds southwest of the present monument). You know there were no trees on the island when the battle took place, except the sapling cottonwood at the lower (eastward) point of the island. Wen ​ I was there first, about 40 years ago, there were fewer trees than now, and the sapling cottonwood had become a big tree about 2 1/2 feet thick. Thirty five years ago (1926) a tremendous flood rubbed out most of the trees & carried away the big cottonwood at the point of the island. Now there is a clump of cottonwood sprouts (10 to 12 ft. tall) where the old tree stood.

Mrs. Enos Mills took your address. She has letters I wrote her husband & will look them up for you. J. N.

There is now (Aug. 13) no water in the riverbed, except a few puddles & enough to make the riverbed muddy — but it's sand mud. I walked all up & down the island, which is, perhaps somewhat smaller now than in 1868; but it would still hold 50 horses & 51 men. I yearned to dig in the sand, for surely there are hundreds upon hundreds of cartridges buried deep there.

You remarked that Forsyt Forsyth did not remember the landscape clearly. I studied this matter while there, and everything tallies remarkably well. However, the island could not be as much as "75 yards" from either bank — a matter of no importance, surely. See page 30, 5 lines from the bottom. "To our right" is correct, as they were headed south when they camped were headed west when they camped, and the bluffs are on the north side of the island and camp. Page 36, the bluffs are correctly placed on the north side of the island.

"Chalmers" was not Chalmers Smith. He was George W. Chalmers. Smith was another gentleman. The stream there flows eastward. The point of the island is down stream. The sapling cottonwood was cut down to make splints for Forsyth's leg shin; but a cottonwood cut down goes right on growing, and the big tree I saw 40 years ago at the point of the island was undoubtedly the second growth from the stump of the sapling.

But I made a mistake in the Indian Wars. It was a slip that need not have occurred. Here it is: Page 123. Line 6 from bottom should read southward instead of northward as printed The line above should read southward.

Even so, one could justify the directions as given by pointing out that, on the north side of the island, there is quite a wide stretch of plain prairie, and there is a rise to the southward towards low hills. But I did not mean this. I meant to describe the bluffs on the north. I've cha interchanged northward and southward on page 123 in my copy. Please do the same in your copy.

I am glad that Chalmers is George W. Chalmers, and not Chalmers Smith as you thought.

Well, we all went to Stockton, Kansas, after Beecher's Island, and went out to my Grandfather's homestead. The kids were glad to see it.

Isn't this a lovely letter, just as I told you it would be? I'll bet by now, you're so interested that you've quit tatting!!

Yo-Yo was hysterical when she saw the Gak. She still hangs around me, eager to be taken up so that she can pull my hair & bite my nose.

By now, I've kissed all the horses in the barn, and I've seen my precious Double Lucifer doing his stuff in harness; He is quite a wow already — only 24 years old.

I don't like to think of my visit in your house, because I was so miserable there. (The very idea! I was not miserable! Whoever said such a thing?) And I don't like you too, nor Bower, nor Stewart nor Perky. (Does the latter still like her saraparilla?)

You were so very good to me! Bless you'ns!

I think I'll run up to Lincoln soon & do those videos.

Atherton will have [?] pack & ship the bust. He will double pack — first in a box, and then the box in a barrel.

Love to you, Bower, old man Stewart, and Gramby.

John N.
John Neihardt Route 7 Columbia, Mo.
COLUMBIAA, MO AUG 14 1030AM 1961
_______ Air


Dr. Lucile Aly, 1138 22nd Ave., East, Eugene, Oregon.
Letter no. 1